‘We made mistakes’: Met Police set Orpington rapist free to attack again after first rape

James Isted has been convicted of two rapes in Orpington. Photo: Met Police

James Isted has been convicted of two rapes in Orpington. Photo: Met Police - Credit: Archant

The Metropolitan Police have admitted they “made mistakes” setting an Orpington rapist free and could have stopped him attacking a second victim almost two years later.

James Isted, 27, of Tintagel Road, was arrested but not charged after he brutally raped and mugged a woman in the graveyard of All Saints’ Church in September 2011.

He was caught after committing a chillingly similar attack in the same place in May this year.

On Wednesday, he was convicted by a jury of five charges of rape, robbery and assaulting a police officer at Croydon Crown Court.

Police said Isted was released on bail after being arrested a week after the first rape.

At the beginning of August 2012 he was told he was no longer on police bail because of “a lack of evidence”.

Police said the investigation was ongoing but it did not stop him raping a second woman in May.

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A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: “The MPS acknowledges that in this case we made mistakes, and we have apologised to the victim of the second offence.

“Had certain actions been taken earlier, a second offence may have been prevented.

“We voluntarily referred the matter to the IPCC who took the decision to return it to the MPS to be looked at locally.”

The investigation is being carried out by the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards.

In the first attack, Isted crept up behind his 17-year-old victim as she walked along Church Hill late at night and hit her on the back of the head.

Isted dragged her into the graveyard of All Saints’ Church and subjected to her to a prolonged rape before fleeing with her handbag and phone on September 30 2011.

In the second rape, he threatened a 27-year-old woman with a knife in Church Hill at 1.30pm.

A member of the public called the police after seeing the rape and Isted was stopped and chased by officers, who arrested him nearby.

He had taken the woman’s engagement ring as well as other jewellery and her bank card.

Isted is due to be sentenced at the Croydon Crown Court on February 7.